Students, faculty and community members were invited to the UCI Student Center Tuesday eve
ning to watch and discuss the film Boiling Pot. Filmed and produced majorly by UCI alumni students Omar Ashmawey, Russell Curry and Andrew Luu, it focuses prominently on the racial tensions and violent acts that occurred on the UCSD campus in 2008.
“We think racism is gone now that we have a black president, but things are actually worse than before. People just don’t talk about it anymore,” Ibrahim Ashmawey said.
These are the words of Ashmawey, brother of Omar and co-producer of Boiling Pot. The Ashmawey brothers were motivated to make the film after hearing about a noose hung at the University of California San Diego campus in 2008. After contacting a student at the Black Student Union asking for more information pertaining to the events, the brothers received a thirteen page response; the
motivation and documentation they needed to begin writing their film.
“There is no antagonist or protagonist in the story of racism,” Omar said. “Every character sees themselves as the protagonist in their own story, but we wanted to show that we are all in the wrong.”
Executive Producer Russell Curry responded to Omar by adding that this is one of the more obvious themes in the movie. “We wanted to show that even people that are not committing these race targeted crimes but may still be involved or aware are supporting racism. It starts with a discussion, and that’s what we wanted the film to motivate people to do :talk about racism.”
The film features award-winning talent including Danielle Fishel (Boy Meets World), Davetta Sherwood (The Young and the Restless), John Heard (The Great Debaters), and Lou Gossett, Jr. (An officer and a Gentleman).
Following the film viewing, a panel discussion gave the audience the opportunity to share their thoughts with the filmmakers and producers.
Many community members shared their appreciation regarding the bravery of the alumni filmmakers. In particular, UCI Student Development Coordinator Jade Turner reflected on working with the student filmmakers in 2008 while race-targeted crimes were becoming frequent on school campuses. “I still remember a day walking outside during a protest and seeing Russell throwing his fist into the air shouting All Together, Together in All with students of different race and backgrounds outside the Cross-Cultural Center.”
Following Jade’s words, a community and UCI alumni member spoke of his experiences in
racism while on campus in the 70’s. “First I want to say, what you gentlemen did took guts. It’s a very difficult subject. I think what you did is you asked people to ask questions about self examination, because that’s real. I had the experience of being called the N word while walking to class. I didn’t receive it, because I knew I had too much too lose at the time by saying anything. We need to keep asking the question, what can I do to make a change.”
Kim Hanohano-Munder, psychology student at UCI commented on the films message by saying, “I believe the message was effective in its ability to evoke collective guilt and a call to action. I think it was a great first step and I hope in their next project the filmmakers can display more of the progression of anti-racism on college campuses.”
Fred Lipscomb, Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, closed the discussion by inviting students and community members to continue the discussion in the Cross-Cultural Center the following day.